With Central American refugees flooding into the state and immigration reform stalled in Congress, immigrant rights groups are renewing their call for San Antonio to be declared a 'Sanctuary City' which would be welcoming to undocumented immigrants, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Almost every other large city in Texas, including Dallas, Houston, Austin and Ft. Worth, are self-declared 'sanctuary cities.'
Sanctuary City designation would forbid local authorities from asking about the immigration status of individuals they come into contact with, and would prevent local officials from cooperating with federal agencies involved in deportation efforts.
Jamie Martinez of the Cesar Chavez Legacy Foundation, in a letter to soon to be departing Mayor Julian Castro, urges action at Tuesday's special City Council meeting.
"Like your grandmother, hundreds have taken the risk and leap of faith to travel to this country to be at peace and create a better life for their families," Martinez writes. "However, as soon as they arrive they face fear of deportations and constant discrimination. We need to stop all the injustices and support this resolution."
A 'Sanctuary City' resolution would also open San Antonio to house more of the illegal immigrants arriving from Central America, including unaccompanied minors.
In a companion letter to Gov. Rick Perry, Martinez expresses his discomfort with so called 'militia' or 'patriot' groups which are massing along the border with the expressed goal of 'stopping the illegal immigrant invasion.'
The leader of this group "was quoted int he media and asked how he was going to secure the border," Martinez writes. "His response 'you see an illegal, you point your gun at him, right between his eyes, and you say, get back across the border or you will be shot."
"I ask you to use your position of authority as Governor to denounce these dangerous 'militia patriot' groups, and put a stop and discourage them from coming to the border. They are dangerous and someone will be hurt."